On December 4, 2017, the City Council approved our legislative agenda for the 2018 state legislative session. The priorities provide policy direction to guide staff in determining support or opposition to specific legislation.
Why do we care so much about what happens in Olympia? Because many decisions made in Olympia have direct and indirect impacts on our ability to provide services to the Shoreline community.
Local Government Financial Sustainability and Flexibility
We are advocating for a more self-sufficient model where cities have more control over their revenue streams. Cities need to be able to plan for funding from one year to the next; providing cities more local financial flexibility allows each jurisdiction to make their own choices of how to fund local services. An example is the 1% annual property tax increase cap. The cap does not keep pace with inflation and restricts cities’ ability to maintain services. Setting a cap that is actually tied to economic conditions that drive costs, such as inflation and population growth, would allow cities to better maintain existing services.
Support Human Services Safety Net
We want the legislature to enhance the provision of needed human services programs to address issues that drive increased homelessness and public safety costs. Over the past few years, we have seen significant increases in homelessness; large funding cuts to services for seniors; and continued underfunding of behavioral and mental health services. The lack of funding at the state level impacts vulnerable populations her in Shoreline.
Pass the Capital Budget
The Capital Budget funds many critical community projects that cannot move forward without funding. One example is the Housing Trust Fund, which helps support affordable housing projects throughout the state. Without it, addressing homelessness issues in our community becomes even more difficult. The legislature needs to pass a capital budget
The legislature has diverted funds for infrastructure programs that benefit cities to the state general fund over the past few years. These programs allow cities to utilize low interest loans or grants to complete infrastructure projects at a significantly lower cost due to lower loan repayment rates than market value.